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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY    AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

go against us on occasion in a matter of some moment
to us.

But when I take this crucial-case.: and imagine a real^
predicament—when I think of the kind of issue which
decides whether a State or an empire goes up or down in
the world—then I find myself in a position of some
doubt eveti in regard to Great Britain. Supposing it
to be the case that the loss of our overseas possessions
would bring about a serious reduction in the standard
of living of the British people, and supposing a motion
were to be proposed that all forms of colony or of sub-
jection or of dependency were to be abolished through
the wide world—I, in a situation of this kind, should like
to know what the attitude of the government of my
country would be. In particular I should like to know
what its attitude would be towards the idea of submitting
such an issue to a conference or assembly in which the
Communists were known in advance to have the majority
of votes. I should like to know what my country would
do on the assumption that we still had enough power to
make a valid and independent choice. Where the
conflict is really a cut-throat one it seems to me that the
conference method does not put an end to the predica-
ment but merely changes the locality and the setting of
it. The whole method is liable to break down if either
the Communists or the non-Communists can be fairly
sure in advance that on critical issues the other party is
going to have the majority. And in any case I am not
dear that anybody has ever devised a form of political
machinery that could not somehow or other be manipu-
lated by ill-intentioned people in the possession of power.

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